Radiation Levels Will Now Be Displayed On Handsets: Sachin Pilot
The Indian government has announced new guidelines for handset makers and telecom tower manufacturers in light of health concerns related to radiation from cell phone towers and devices. This follows a World Health Organisation(WHO) report stating radiation from cell phone towers and devices may lead to cancer.
The inter-ministerial group set up by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) in August 2010 has submitted its final report on the new regulations. According to the group, mobile handsets have to now mandatorily declare the radiation levels. It has also proposed revising the limit of 2 watts per kilogram averaged over 10 grams tissue to 1.6 watts per kilogram averaged over 1 gram tissue. For mobile towers, the group has suggested strict radiation norms, shifting from the current range of 'safe power density' of f/200 watts per square meter (ICNIRP guidelines) to f/2000 watts per square meter.
In a press release, the Union Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology Sachin Pilot said that while telecom is a huge success story in India, any possible health related effects of radiation emitted by mobile phones and towers are to be reflected and ensured in the guidelines. The final guidelines would take into account the best global benchmarks and scientific evidence on the subject. The government has been sensitive to the issue of possible health-related effects of radiation emissions from mobile towers and phones, he added.
The government has already announced amendments to the Access Service Licenses mandating self-certification of radiation levels of towers. The radiation levels will have to comply with WHO-endorsed guidelines of International Commission for Non-ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) and non-compliance will result in a penalty of Rs.5 lakh. As of March 31, 2011, 5.88 lakh out of 6.05 lakh base stations had been self-certified, the government said.
The inter-ministerial group consisted of experts from Department of Telecom, Ministry of Health, Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Environment & Forests and Indian Council of Medical Research.